Ranked: Top 10 Countries by Military Spending
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The Top 10 Countries by Military Spending in 2021
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has continued, military spending and technology has come under the spotlight as the world tracked Western arms shipments and watched how HIMAR rocket launchers and other weaponry affected the conflict.
But developing, exporting, and deploying military personnel and weaponry costs nations hundreds of billions every year. In 2021, global military spending reached $2.1 trillion , rising for its seventh year in a row.
Using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ( SIPRI ), this visualization shows which countries spent the most on their military in 2021, along with their overall share of global military spending.
Which Countries Spend the Most on Military?
The United States was the top nation in terms of military expenditure, spending $801 billion to make up almost 38% of global military spending in 2021. America has been the top military spending nation since SIPRI began tracking in 1949, making up more than 30% of the world’s military spending for the last two decades.
U.S. military spending increased year-over-year by $22.3 billion, and the country’s total for 2021 was more than every other country in the top 10 combined.
|Country||Military Spending (2017)||Military Spending (2018)||Military Spending (2019)||Military Spending (2020)||Military Spending (2021)|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||$51.6B||$55.7B||$56.9B||$60.7B||$68.4B|
The next top military spender in 2021 was China, which spent $293.4 billion and made up nearly 14% of global military spend. While China’s expenditure is still less than half of America’s, the country has increased its military spending for 27 years in a row.
In fact, China has the largest total of active military personnel , and the country’s military spending has more than doubled over the last decade.
While Russia was only the fifth top nation by military spending at $65.9 billion in 2021, it was among the higher ranking nations in terms of military spending as a share of GDP. Russia military expenditures amounted to 4.1% of its GDP, and among the top 10 spending nations, was only beaten by Saudi Arabia whose spending was 6.6% of its GDP.
Military Collaboration Since the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has resulted in seismic geopolitical shifts, kicking off a cascade of international military shipments and collaboration between nations. The security assistance just sent by the U.S. to Ukraine has totaled $8.2 billion since the start of the war, and has shown how alliances can help make up for some domestic military spending in times of conflict.
Similarly, Russia and China have deepened their relationship, sharing military intelligence and technology along with beginning joint military exercises at the end of August, alongside other nations like India, Belarus, Mongolia, and Tajikistan.
Since China’s breakthrough in hypersonic missile flight a year ago, Russia has now been testing its own versions of the technology, with Putin mentioning Russia’s readiness to export weaponry he described as, “years, or maybe even decades ahead of their foreign counterparts”.
Sanctions and Energy Exports: New Weapons in Modern Warfare
Along with advanced weaponry, sanctions and energy commodities have become new tools of modern cold warfare. As Western economic sanctions attempted to cripple Russia’s economy following its invasion, Russian gas and oil supplies have been limited and forced to be paid in rubles in retaliation.
Global trade has been turned into a new battlefield with offshore assets and import dependencies as the attack vectors. Along with these, cyberattacks and cybersecurity are an increasingly complex, obscure, and important part of national military and security.
Whether or not Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ends in 2022, the rise in geopolitical tensions and conflict this year will almost certainly result in a global increase in military spending.
Charted: How Latin America Drove U.S. Immigration from 1970–2019
The U.S. is built on immigration and this chart shows how Latin America has been one of the biggest drivers of U.S. immigration in the last 50 years.
Charted: How LatAm Drove U.S. Immigration from 1970–2019
LatAm, otherwise known as Latin America , has been one of the biggest sources of immigration to the U.S. over the last one hundred years.
Since the 1970s, the region has driven the second wave of U.S. immigration and helped shape the country’s future immeasurably. This is especially clear when looking at Census data listing where people were born.
This chart from Latinometrics looks at the history of U.S. immigration considering both documented and undocumented immigration since 1850.
Historical U.S. Immigration
For most of its early history, Europeans drove immigration to the United States.
The UK, Ireland, and Germany were especially big sources of American immigrants well into the 20th century. But around the 1960-70s this began to shift, with LatAm countries marking the next wave of U.S. immigration.
ℹ️ LatAm includes all Central American, Caribbean, and South American countries.
Here’s a sample of the history of U.S. immigration using select years and regions:
|Rest of Asia||377||36.7K||379.0K||6.2M||7.9M||8.8M||9.2M|
|Rest of Latin America||1.7K||19.7K||217.6K||4.8M||6.9M||7.5M||8.5M|
|Rest of Europe||49.5K||2.8M||3.7M||2.9M||3.0M||3.0M||3.0M|
|🇨🇳 China, excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan||758||81.5K||99.7K||988.9K||1.6M||2.1M||2.3M|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||1.3M||2.8M||1.2M||677.8K||669.8K||683.5K||677.9K|
|Share of U.S. Population Made up of Immigrants||9.8%||13.3%||5.7%||11.0%||12.9%||13.5%||13.7%|
As of 2019, 22.6 million foreign-born people in the U.S. were originally from LatAm countries, with 10.9 million from Mexico alone.
Additionally, in 2021 Mexican citizens received the highest number of U.S. immigrant visas in the world at almost 40,600. Immigrant visas are the first step in the process to U.S. green cards and citizenship.
And though Asian countries are beginning to make up the majority of U.S. immigrant applicants and permits, other LatAm countries also ranked high in issued permits in 2021:
- 🇩🇴 Dominican Republic: 17.9K
- 🇸🇻 El Salvador: 7.8K
- 🇪🇨 Ecuador: 5.1K
- 🇨🇴 Colombia: 4.8K
Furthermore, there is also undocumented immigration to consider. According to 2019 figures from Brookings, there are between 10.5-12 million undocumented migrants living in the U.S.—making up just over 3% of the population.
Here’s a look at the top five countries in terms of undocumented immigration to the U.S. in 2019, most of which are LatAm countries:
|Country||Number of Immigrants||% of Total Undocumented Population|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||741,000||7%|
The Future of U.S. Immigration
In the last few years, more and more Asian countries are seeing their citizens leave for the United States. In addition, the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian War (as well as other global events and crises) could shift U.S. immigration even further away from LatAm.
Currently, the U.S. is only permitting small numbers of legal immigrants to enter the country each year, numbering in only the hundreds of thousands. But as birth rates decline, the growth in the foreign-born population will continue to be a much-discussed and important topic for the country’s demographics in the coming years.
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